Following a budget shortfall of 15 million dollars, the Bronx Zoo has announced that it will be closing several exhibits and sending away hundreds of animals.
The World of Darkness and the Rare Animal Range will both be closed. Animals from porcupines to guanacos, and Formosan sika deer to sugar gliders will be sent away to other zoos. Primates from the World of Darkness like bushbabies, night monkeys, and lemurs are also on the list of evictions. It has been reported that the eviction decisions were made partially on the relative popularity of the animals.
Being endangered has not granted animals a respite either. The Arabian oryx exhibit will also be closed; the IUCN Red List classifies the oryx species as endangered. In the 1970s the species went extinct in the wild due to overhunting, attempts at reintroduction in the wild are ongoing.
The Bronx Zoo lost $1.7 million due to budget cuts from New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg. In addition, the organization lost a further $13.3 million from depressed donations and other government cuts.
The Bronx Zoo, one of the oldest in the United States and one of the highest rated, is run by the Wildlife Conservation Society. It received over 2 million visitors a year.
(02/05/2009) The New York State Legislature has rejected Governor David Paterson’s proposal to cut funding for state zoos by 55 percent for 2009 after public uproar.
(10/05/2008) Watching a Siberian tiger kill a grey squirrel for a half-hour proved to be one of my most enlightening experiences at a zoo. It was a weekday; I was alone, not even an employee passed by. The tiger pounced on the squirrel, flipped it into the air like a juggler's ball, pinned it and rolled it. A short reprieve from this unlikely encounter and the bloodied, half-crushed squirrel attempted an escape, dragging itself across the grass; the tiger watched curiously, let it go a few feet then pounced again. My whole self suffered over the squirrel's pain and torture while marveling in the same instance at the tiger's power, the ease with which it knocked the rodent along the ground. Here in an institution where nature is faked was a relatively truthful half-hour: nature's brutality, grace, ugliness, awe, beauty, and tragedy were reveled. I never could conclude whether the Asian terror was just playing or if it simply lacked the knowledge (as has been proven with many captive cats) to finish off the squirrel. Either way, it took a long time for the rodent to die.
(08/01/2008) A critically endangered fruit bat was born earlier this month at the Bronx Zoo.